U.S. stocks opened higher on Monday after data showed Americans spent more than expected last month. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 163 points to 11,499. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 18 points to 1,195. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 40 points to 2,519. The overseas markets including Europe traded higher this morning help lift our averages. Hurricane Irene while damaging was not as severe as the worse-case scenario helping lift all the insurers like Hartford, Allstate, MetLife, and Travelers. Hartford and Allstate are both up over 5%. The financials are also performing well this morning. Bank of America is up 3% as they close in on selling a 5% stake in a Chinese bank. Investment banking firm, Donaldson is jumping 9% following better than expected earnings. In the tech space IBM, Apple, and Google look good. An analyst made cautious comments on Intel, however, the stock is performing well so far this morning. Novellus is up 2% on positive analyst comments. The retailers continue to perform well. Tiffany is up another one percent following strong earnings last week. Brinker is up a percent on an upgrade. Nike is higher on positive analyst comments. In the drug space Bristol Myers and Pfizer are both up over 2% thanks to better than expected clinical trial results for their stroke-preventing blood thinners drug. Everything is working this morning. Through the first hour the Dow pushed higher with the Dow rising 180 points and the Nasdaq jumped 50 points. The only Dow component lower is Home Depot. I guess not enough people bought supplies before or after Hurricane Irene. Through the morning the averages remained strong actually improving in the afternoon. The Dow rose over 200 points while the Nasdaq improved by as much as 70 points. Everything is working today. The only Dow component still in the red is Home Depot. In the last hour the averages kept improving. A good day in the markets. The Dow average finished up 254 points, or 2.3%, at 11,539, led by an 8.1% surge in Bank of America shares. For the year, the Dow is 0.3% lower. The S&P 500 added 33 points, or 2.8%, to 1,210, its first close above 1,200 since Aug. 15. Financials led gains, rallying 4.2%. The Nasdaq Composite ended up 82 points, or 3.3%, to 2,562.
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